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Portal Software's 1Q results above expectations

Portal Software posted a surprise profit in its first quarter Thursday, earning $3.1 million, or 2 cents a share, on sales of $50.6 million.

A survey of analysts by First Call Corp. predicted the e-commerce software provider would post a loss of 1 cent a share in the quarter.

Ahead of the earnings report, Portal Software (Nasdaq: PRSF) shares closed off 2 1/16 to 39.

The $50.6 million in sales marks a 234 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $5.5 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $15.2 million.

"Performance in the first quarter demonstrates that our business strategy and company fundamentals are solid and are driving the ability to achieve sustained growth and profitability," said CEO John Little in a prepared release.

Last quarter, Portal Software beat Street estimates when it checked in with a profit of $400,000 on sales of $39 million.

Its shares soared up to a 52-week high of 86 in February after falling to a low of 17 1/8 in August.

All 11 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

Analysts are forecasting a profit of 2 cents a share in the fiscal year.